The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), an agency in the United States Department of Transportation, recently proposed a new rule that would measure the performance and quality of service of intercity passenger train operations (). The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) sets out FRA’s intent to create a definition of what constitutes on-time performance for Amtrak intercity passenger trains and require a minimum on-time performance standard of 80%, on average.
“Eighty percent is a minimum standard,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “We expect many routes will be much more reliable. Clarity should help all parties ensure compliance.” The performance and service quality metrics compiled under the proposed rule would allow FRA, Amtrak, and its customers and service providers to gauge the success of intercity passenger train travel on an objective basis.
Before proposing the new rule, FRA sought the opinions of many interested parties, including states, Class I railroads that host Amtrak trains, Amtrak employee labor organizations, Amtrak passenger advocates, and the Surface Transportation Board. “After extensive stakeholder consultation, FRA is proposing new metrics to promote transparency for railroads and travelers alike,” Batory said. “We expect that all parties are interested in achieving higher performance.”
The proposed rule will create new, additional measurements to help evaluate Amtrak’s performance in serving the public, including financial results and customer service quality. Written public comments may be submitted up to 60 days after the NPRM’s publication in the Federal Register.
Proposed rules requiring further data-driven monitoring of the railroad industry certainly help fulfill the FRA’s mission “to enable the safe, reliable, and efficient movement of people and goods for a strong America, now and in the future.” However, we would not require so much federal government oversight if we could count on the railroads to value customer safety as much as they value corporate profits.
If you have been injured in a railroad accident, it is critical that you hire an experienced attorney. Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.